Orchid Plant Information

Orchid Plant Information image by The 74th plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur of 1904, showing various types of orchids
Orchid Plant Information image by The 74th plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur of 1904, showing various types of orchids

Overview

The family Orchidaceae is on of the largest family of plants with over 25,000 described species, 300,000 hybrids and cultivars with new species being discovered each year. Orchids make up 8 percent of all flowering plants.

Habitat

Orchids species are native to all continents except Antarctica and grow in tropical as well as temperate climates, with the highest concentration of species in the tropical areas.

Types

Common orchids found in local garden centers include members of the genera Phalaenopsis, Cymbidium, Cattleya alliance, Paphiopedilum, Oncidium and Dendrobium.

Specialization

Orchids are well known for their highly specialized nature. Some plants only get pollinated by one gender of one species of insect.

Uses

The only commercially grown orchids for use outside the cut flower and ornamental plant trade is the vanilla. Ripe vanilla seed pods are processed to make vanilla flavoring.

Hybridization

Orchids have been selectively hybridized by growers over the last several generations creating entirely new types of plants and genera of plants not seen in nature.

References

  • Royal bontanic Gardens, Kew:
  • Swiss Orchid Foundation
  • Growing Orchids

Who Can Help

  • American Orchid Society
Keywords: orchid types, common orchids, number of orchids

About this Author

Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for over five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.

Photo by: The 74th plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur of 1904, showing various types of orchids